Almost all of my posts about life on the farm focus on the outside, but today I am tackling this post inside out (as soon as the MAC pinwheel disappears). When you think farm, you think animals and the progression usually moves to barns, pastures, fences, thinking outside, conjuring images of sheep, goats, cattle, horses, dogs.... Today, thinking outside the box, we're moving inside. Let's start with the house cats. Our tabby, Nina, weighs in at an unhealthy 20 pounds; Mamma Cat defines her household status and her role. Nina vets all the dogs, walking up to them, putting her nose on theirs, as it to say, okay, you're a keeper; you pass the test. Nina is the boss of the household (funny, I thought I was). Although it may be hard to tell from this photo, 6 years later, Nina still grooms Maggie, who consequently does not know how to do so herself.
Although she has never given birth, Nina adopted Maggie from the moment she entered our household. Maggie was a special needs cat. At 9 weeks, she fit inside my hand. She was born without a tail but with an extra vertabra, making her silhoutte regal with a high arch. Any creature who began life so challenged (the only kitten to survive in her small litter) deserves a wonderful life, unchallenged by complications. But Maggie nearly died twice; the first time from a single prescription eye drop. I was holding her in my arms as she went limp. Miraculously, the vets (local and UPenn Small Animal Clinic) saved her, only to have her go plantigrade several months later. She hopped like the rabbit she almost resembled, and again we took her to UPenn. They could do nothing for her, but once again, like a miracle, three day later, she was normal and has remained so ever since. Weighing in at a long and lean 9 pounds, she is the joy of our life and definitely Mickey's cat. She is good about sharing her love, and still falls asleep on my chest, but, make no mistake: she's Mickey's girl.
How soon she forgot who took care of her for her first 3 months when she arrived. Does she remember that I slept on the pull-out bed downstairs all summer so she would have company? That's my girl.
Definitely not Mickey's girl is my dog Julie. She, too, was adopted, actually from the same very generous woman who gave us Maggie. Julie is an all-black (reminds me of the NZ soccer team) GSD and Labrador Retriever mix. A true hybrid, she carries a toy with her wherever she goes, is loving and great with children and guests, but is preternaturally protective of her farm and family. She is never off a leash, because her GSD instincts make her 120 pounds of reckoning. This photo was taken last winter; she has added some pounds since then, making her even more formidable looking. Clearly I need to add more inside images to my collection.
Moving to the outside (you thought you'd see animals here, right) presents the classic farm paradigm: problems with keeping equipment running. No matter how many tractors you have, normal use needs normal maintenance. Fortunately for me, I have the BEST help, bar none. Albert was cutting the orchard grass in the pasture, top trimming, when the bottom cutting tray just dropped off. Lucky for all of us, Titus was driving by. He's a great mechanic and a tremendous help while Albert battles gout in his one wrist (and he's still moving all these acres; told you I had great help).
Curious as their gene pool makes them, the girls just could not be keep out of the action. Although I did not capture the quintessential picture, Tess tried diligently to get as close as she could to the boys and the tractor. One of my earliest memories of Tess and Rev was how as young crias they edged under Carol's fence to get as close as they could to a mother and her new-born cria. Their inquisitiveness has never faltered. If something is going on, they desperately want to be part of it. That's what I LOVE about these two. Missing is Cierra, and since I just spoke with Carol, we are reasonably certain she is pregnant, and that is good news indeed.
The last image is definitely outside, almost an anomaly. If you look very closely, you will notice a light on two trees. Considering that I snapped this shot at 9:30 this morning, the lights foreshadow grey storm clouds gathering overhead, generating a scary storm warning for the PM forecast. Mercifully, we escaped damage and the girls are safe. I hate hurricane season, and although we are not in the Weather Channel's usual doom-and-gloom predictions, today was an exception that gave pause for prayer. We are not safely out of the warning until 8 PM, so the countdown to safety continues.
John Deere Tractors